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U.S. Mercy Corps set to launch Islamic microfinance in Ethiopia

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U.S.-based aid agency Mercy Corps has appointed consultancy IFAAS to help launch an Islamic microfinance business in Ethiopia, aiming to offer interest-free products to local communities, the firms said in a joint statement.

Mercy Corps, one of the largest humanitarian organizations delivering aid to conflict zones including Syria, hopes Islamic finance can support financial inclusion efforts in the country.

The appointment follows a study conducted by IFAAS to assess the financial landscape in Ethiopia, a country where around a third of the population of 100 million is Muslim.

“The study carried out by IFAAS into interest-free finance in Ethiopia is instrumental to our financial inclusion work in the country,” said Josh Ling, Director of Financial Inclusion at Mercy Corps.

Mercy Corps work in the project is partly-funded by Britain’s Department for International Development.

IFAAS would assist a local microfinance firm to establish a separate unit known as an Islamic window, which would follow religious guidelines such as a ban on gambling and outright speculation.

Islamic banking has been steadily growing in several parts of the world, particularly the Gulf and Southeast Asia.

But sharia-compliant versions of microcredit, the provision of very small loans to low-income borrowers who lack collateral and a credit history, have been slow to develop. (NAN)

Economy

EU’s Tusk to meet UK PM May on Brexit in Egypt on Sunday – official

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President of the European Council Donald Tusk listens at a news conference during the European Union Tallinn Digital Summit in Tallinn – REUTERS

BRUSSELS – 22 February 2019: European Union leaders will not clinch a deal on Brexit during a summit with their Arab peers in Egypt scheduled for Sunday and Monday, an EU official said on Friday.

“There will be no deal in the desert,” the official said when asked about chances of a Brexit breakthrough during the EU summit with the League of Arab States in Sharm el-Sheikh on Feb.24-25.

However, the source said European Council President Donald Tusk would hold a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the summit on Sunday at 1630 local time in Egypt.

– EGYPT TODAY

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Nigeria floors JPMorgan Chase over $875m Malabu oil money

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A High Court in London headed by Justice Andrew Burrows has granted Nigeria’s plea to allow it proceed with the trial of JPMorgan Chase.

The bank is alleged to have enabled the misappropriation of state funds totalling $875 million over the Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245.

Mr Salihu Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) revealed this in Abuja on Friday in a press statement.

Isah disclosed that JPMorgan Chase, a US bank had failed to halt the prosecution brought against it by the Federal Government.

He said Justice Burrows in a 26-page verdict on Thursday stated that Nigeria had “reasonable grounds” for bringing a claim to the commercial division of the High Court, meaning it could now proceed to trial.

“The judge averred that, the bank, which is the defendant, failed to establish that the claimant(FG) had no real prospect of success.

” He said the bank ought to suspect the payments were fraudulent and therefore had a duty to protect the Federal Republic of Nigeria until its concerns were cleared up.

“That duty of care entails that the bank could not simply follow the mandate of abiding by the instructions given by the claimant because the bank’s duty of care, as its core, was to protect the claimant against being defrauded by not paying out unless and until it was ‘off inquiry”, the Judge insisted.

Isah also said that at a hearing this month, JPMorgan Chase had argued that the case should be dismissed as it had received sufficient approvals from Nigerian authorities.

This, he said was before allowing the transfer of funds from a government account to those controlled by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr Dan Etete.

“The payments, after a 2011 settlement, aimed to end several years of battle over the ownership of a lucrative but controversial oil licence that has ensnared Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in corruption investigations in Milan, Italy.

“The licence for the c block was shuffled back and forth between Shell and Malabu Oil & Gas, a Nigerian oil company controlled by Etete and which was first awarded development rights in 1998 when he was also in charge of petroleum resources.”

Isah further revealed that Nigeria had filed a separate $1.1 billion legal claim against Shell and Eni to recover sums lost to corruption and the unlawful activity of the two energy majors.

On its part, Shell and Eni have said their deal with the Federal Government was legal and that the payment was made to the government and they had no part to play in what happened to the money afterwards.

-NAN (The Jakarta Post)
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Stock markets

Jumia, Konga list billion dollars IPOs

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NSE

Jumia and Konga, two major players in the e-Commerce, are creating visible excitement with eye-catching listing of their shares on the international market.

Jumia is planning an initial public offering (IPO) in New York this year which will reportedly see the business valued at $1.5 billion.

Elsewhere, Konga, Nigeria’s biggest Omni- channel e-Commerce group, is also reportedly set for a major listing on either the London Stock Exchange or New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by the last quarter of 2020.

Konga Group is set for an initial public offering that will see the e-Commerce giant valued at about $3.2 billion, further shoring up the potential of the industry in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest market.

Investigations reveal that Mark Jessey, a prominent stock analyst on NYSE had hinted of the strong possibility of Konga IPO before the end of next year.

A move which, according to him, is a much sought-after one by investors, many of whom have followed within the last eight months the huge strides and trajectory of the business which came under new ownership after the exit of previous majority investors, Naspers and AB Kinnevik.

While Jumia’s successful listing could help MTN reduce its debt which unconfirmed reports indicate to have increased to over five billion dollars in June from about $4.1 billion at the end of 2017, Konga’s imminent IPO is one that should see the business excite a horde of potential investors, going by the current standing of the company.

Commenting on the likely listing of Konga, Chris Uwaje, Africa chair for IEEE World Internet of Things (WIoT), noted that the company has added huge value to the e-commerce landscape which should see its value gross over $3.5 billion.

“Within the last seven months, I am aware that the new owners of Konga have repositioned the company strategically and upped the overall value of the business.

Konga could claim to be unarguably the most structured e-Commerce company in Africa, with huge infrastructure and technology back-bone which is rare in Africa and which is the strength of global players such as Amazon and Alibaba.

“In valuing Konga, you must consider its strategic 360 degrees Omni-channel strategy, their Central Bank of Nigeria-licensed mini bank – KongaPay which I am sure cannot be valued anything less than $750 million and best in Africa digital logistics division known as Kxpress with a nationwide network.

“I know Konga is likely the only company that does about 90 per cent of her long haul and last mile deliveries in the continent,’’ Uwaje said.

Source: NAN

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